Stowaways found in largest Christmas tree shipment of the year - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Stowaways found in largest Christmas tree shipment of the year

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

SAND ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's largest shipment of Christmas trees from the mainland is here.

On Sunday morning, inspectors combed through them and they found some creatures who came along for the joy ride.

A salamander, some tree frogs, and a cricket are among the hitchhikers in this season's shipment of Christmas trees.

But after all the shaking, and searching for invasive species at Matson's Sand island terminal, it was a slimy guy who triggered a red flag.

"We found several slugs and we're concerned about it being a problem here to our agriculture industry, environment and also public health and safety," said Glenn Sakamoto, Plant Quarantine Inspector with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

The state says the slug was found in 11 of the 62 containers.

The vendor has a choice. It can either treat the trees or send them back to the mainland.

This is the third shipment in three weeks.

In all, there are roughly 200 containers filled with more than 80,000 Christmas trees.

The state says that's more than last year.

That's because there was a shortage of trees, and people started air freighting them.

The state anticipates a bigger supply this year.

As for the little buggers, inspectors say if they have kamaaina family members, they get to stay in Hawaii.

The next shipment of Christmas trees will be brought in to Kauai.

Matson ships more than 100,000 Christmas trees from the Pacific Northwest to Hawaii every year.

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